HEALTH bosses planning changes to the way services in the region are delivered have been accused of overlooking the cost of transport.
As Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board carries out its public consultation Denbighshire councillors claim the proposals will be dependent on the availability of transport.
A draft response to be considered by the full council states: “To date, our perception is that the health sector has only an average record in terms of providing transport.
“Welsh Ambulance Services Trust (WAST) criteria are very strict and seem to take little or no account of rural issues, in particular, with the result that there’s already much frustration for those attending hospital appointments as arrangements currently stand.”
Too often, it is claimed, WAST refers people to the community transport sector without considering whether it is funded or even able to provide the service.
“Because a more flexible approach to transport may be required we would immediately flag up that this is likely to be costly (in real terms and as a cost per patient),” says the report.
Talks have begun between the health board and transport professionals, but the report goes on: “The Council notes that no costs for transport are currently factored into the financial assumptions – whether for WAST or other forms of transport provision.
“This is clearly a major omission which must be added for the full range of services to review, not just those out for public consultation.”
The council is calling for a detailed transport strategy to match the proposed new services.